This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
To me, this verse from Psalms is one of the most misquoted verses in the entire Bible. We are told to be happy, because God made today and we should rejoice and be glad in it. We even sing a catchy praise chorus about it.
But what if today sucks? What if my wife left me, or I found out I have cancer? What if I don’t feel much like rejoicing in today? What if everything in my life screams against me being happy? I believe there is a meaning to this verse that goes much deeper than the “be happy” theology we have been force fed.
Let’s expand the context of the verse a little, adding in the two previous verses as well:
The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the LORD’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
There is a much better day to rejoice and be glad in: the day the stone which the builders rejected became the chief cornerstone. The day Jesus died and rose again. That’s the day to rejoice in, because that day changed everything. When we think about that day, and its implications in our lives for all of eternity, there is no more need for “forced happiness”.
We can rejoice in that day because it changed our outlook forever. It doesn’t matter how terrible my life is right now, I can rejoice that Jesus redeemed me to God. It doesn’t matter if my life is falling apart, I can be glad in the fact that one day my suffering will be over and I will be with Him for eternity. Now that’s cause for rejoicing.
So if today you are not feeling very happy, that’s okay. Look to the day that Jesus changed everything. Look at the Savior who gave His very life for you, and rejoice that He is with you in the middle of your suffering, and will one day take you home.
The depth of that truth is something a catchy praise chorus could never replace.